Wanted: theatre writer for musical theatre commission

Maz O'Connor by Elly Lucas

Part of our role at the Liverpool Irish Festival is to support artists. Having been in touch since 2018, Maz O’Connor has performed as one of our ‘Visible Women’ (2019) and we are now supporting her venture into musical theatre composition.

Maz has found funding to work with a writer on an incredible project, close to our hearts, so we are helping push the call. This is a paid commission, which could lead to book publications and stage shows; so, if you have an interest in working collaboratively, with a brilliant talent, we recommend reading on.

For reference, you can read Maz’s essay Chosen Daughter on page 24 of last year’s Festival newspaper, here.

Wanted: Theatre writer (ideally Irish/Irish heritage and female) for musical theatre commission

Fee: £1800 all-inclusive fee, funded by the EFDSS Creative Bursary Scheme

Project: Musical theatre piece based on the true life and death of Bridget Cleary; killed by her husband, and family, in Tipperary (1895) on suspicion of being a faery changeling (read more…).

Musician and composer Maz O’Connor has written songs and music for the piece, combining Irish traditional music and modern musical theatre styles. See more below.

Commission requirement: This commission –a composer collaboration- will bring together the piece’s performance narrative and develop the first hour of performance (including songs).

The heart of the piece centres on the music: Bridget’s world is a musical one. Maz will work with a writer who will respond to and build on what is created through the music. It requires someone who is excited about collaborating closely with a composer to create a holistic piece of theatre. However, the individual should possess their own artistic voice and use it to help shape the story, sensitively, to be the best it can be.

Maz is flexible about the logistics, but expects a Zoom/Skype start-point and –depending on time-spans- some face-to-face meetings. The successful applicant will be

  • enthusiastic about a close collaboration and peer appraisal (giving/receiving)
  • interested in the source material and Irish connectivity, possibly having Irish heritage of their own
  • keen to explore female roles, with an understanding of inclusive feminism
  • comfortable taking the initiative and suggesting new ideas
  • confident in script-developing alone
  • experienced enough to present their ideas in an industry specific and professional manner.

Progress: Maz has written the first draft of the music. A group of musicians and actor/singers workshopped this (Snape Maltings Music residency, Dec 2019). A 30min video and audio recording of the informal showing of this residency is available to those interested in applying.

Plans and opportunities:

  • A one-week R&D residency at Cecil Sharp House end of Aug 2020, Coronavirus permitting
  • Work-in-progress showing at Snape Malting Music’s Festival of the New (Sept 2020, format TBC)
  • Liverpool Irish Festival support (ongoing) and display (Oct 2020), as appropriate given piece development, timelines and Covid-19 public health guidance
  • Potential for The Finborough Theatre (London) production
  • Arts Council England funding application (2021) to
    • complete written piece (preferably to continue from this commission)
    • work on full stage-production (late 2021/early 2022).

Further Information: A private link to the recording of the music and a video introduction from Maz can be emailed to interested applicants. Email [email protected].

Application: Please send a cover letter and a CV, complete with an example of your writing to: [email protected]  by midnight (BST) Sun 31 May 2020. Shortlisted applicants will be offered a (chemistry test) Zoom/Skype interview in June, with a view to the collaboration starting Mon 6 Jul 2020.